Despite being paid like one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant continues to disappear when he’s needed the most.
The Dallas Cowboys are currently suffering through one of their worst offensive stretches in franchise history. And many blame the absence of star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is current suspended. Yet, the Cowboys supposedly have themselves a bonafide superstar wide receiver to turn to. At least their paying him like one.
But through the Cowboys current three-game losing steak, Dez Bryant has averaged five receptions for 43.6 yards per game and zero touchdowns. In fact, Bryant hasn’t scored since Week Seven.
And fans who are quick to come to Bryant’s defense, claiming this is a result of poor pass protection by the Cowboys offensive line giving young quarterback Dak Prescott next to no time to throw the ball must remember this: Dez Bryant is not just having a three-game slump. He’s have a three-year slump.
After signing a five-year, $70 million contract in July of 2015, Bryant has been a mediocre to only average receiver. Later that year, Dez played in just nine games, recording 31 receptions for 401 yards and three scores. That was after posting a league-leading 16 touchdowns the season before.
In 2016, Bryant caught 50 passes for 796 yards and eight scores. That’s despite being targeted a whopping 96 times! Injuries were blamed for his poor performance in those two years.
But not this season. Finally healthy and with a full offseason training program under his belt, this was supposed to be the year Bryant return to elite receiver status.
Through 11 games do far, Dez has recorded a disappointing 53 receptions for 578 yards and four touchdowns. That’s despite leading the team with a whopping 102 targets! That target amount nearly doubles the next closest Cowboy, tight end Jason Witten with 63.
The fact is Prescott is having to throw to Bryant nearly twice as much than anyone else just so he can produce average numbers. Is this really the type of production you expect from the sixth highest paid wide receiver in the NFL this year???
"“Dez Bryant has seen 60 catchable targets this season, 11th-most among wide receivers,” wrote Aaron Jones for Pro Football Focus. “Unfortunately, Bryant has had issues with drops, dropping seven of those passes, tied for the fourth-most among wide receivers. His drop rate of 11.67 currently ranks 17th among 84 qualifying wide receivers.”"
At 29-years old, age and injuries appear to have taken their toll on the once elite receiver. And Bryant’s disappearing act in Dallas is getting real old, real fast. And the Cowboys are sacrificing a substantial amount of their offensive looks to try and resuscitate a declining career that often arrives at games already lifeless.
Against cornerback Josh Norman and the Washington Redskins tonight, the struggling Dallas Cowboys offense could really use a vintage breakout offensive performance from Dez Bryant. But considering the fact he hasn’t posted a 100-yard, multi-touchdown game since Week 14 of 2014, I’m not holding my breath.